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HR Departments Tell Equifax Your Entire Salary History

timothy posted about a year ago | from the please-explain-this-8-day-gap-in-2002 dept.

Privacy 472

chiguy writes with this snippet From NBC News: "The Equifax credit reporting agency, with the aid of thousands of human resource departments around the country, has assembled...[a database]...containing 190 million employment and salary records covering more than one-third of U.S. adults...[Equifax] says [it] is adding 12 million records annually.' This salary information is for sale: "Its database is so detailed that it contains week-by-week paystub information dating back years for many individuals, as well as ... health care provider, whether someone has dental insurance and if they've ever filed an unemployment claim.""

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472 comments

Privacy And Sin (5, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#42796195)

Privacy and sin,
Like skin on the chin,
Covered by hair,
Nicked by tech #FTW
Burma Shave

This is an important story, beyond the troll.
A political party supporting liberty, where that is defined in part as the right to own all data pertaining to yourself, would see a great deal of support.
And we can expect any of our entrenched parties to support liberty in 3. . .2. . .

Re:Privacy And Sin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796229)

That is really a horrible poem. Did you write that?

Re:Privacy And Sin (4, Informative)

dmacleod808 (729707) | about a year ago | (#42796253)

You are obviously not familiar with Burma Shave, its a 1950s thing. There were signs on the road, each sign had a single line, ending with "Burma Shave". It was not supposed to be fine prose. I think they covered it in the pilot episode of Quantum Leap.

Re:Privacy And Sin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796323)

What are you, new or something? This is Troll Tuesday, and the Burma Shave troll fears none, save the honey badger.

Re:Privacy And Sin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796449)

>A political party supporting liberty

Considering the extreme liberal leaning bias of the (current!) slashdot readership, you're in the wrong place to say that. Expect to be called a Randian nutbag in 3... 2...

Re:Privacy And Sin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796575)

Yeah, the statists moved in. Whatayagonnado?

Re:Privacy And Sin (1, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#42796613)

The current version of the nutbag arm of the libertarian party seems to be much more interested in defending corporate "liberty" rather than individual liberty. It's stories like this that show the two are totally incompatible. If you have no restraints on big institutions (including corporations) there is no such thing as individual rights.

As soon as a politician is affected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796211)

this will very quickly become illegal.

Re:As soon as a politician is affected (2)

GiantMolecularCloud (2825541) | about a year ago | (#42796277)

I don't think Special Interest Groups would give out that information, and fortunes made through insider trading are equally difficult to quantify.

Ponder that, though (4, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#42796349)

As our political class increasingly becomes an aristocracy, this sort of thing becomes a weapon to keep the peasants out.
Once you're a made member of the club, scrubbing your data and enjoying some privacy is a perq.

Great! (5, Interesting)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about a year ago | (#42796243)

How soon can I browse the salary history of CEO's, Congressmen, the chairmen of the FED, the leaders of Scientology, and the lobbyists on capitol hill?

Re:Great! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796269)

As soon as some group breaches Equifax's system? I'd imagine that this will happen shortly as long as this story gets enough publicity.

Re:Great! (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#42796345)

CEO (along with other senior executives) compensation (much more than just pay) has been public for some time, check out your companies 10Q filing (does not apply to private companies).

Re:Great! (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42796401)

You can already browse state employee salaries for many states. New York is http://seethroughny.net/ [seethroughny.net]

Re:Great! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42796463)

Holy crap, some SUNY Binghamton coach is making $240k.

Why is a state school wasting money like that?

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796499)

Just answered your own question, he's a coach. Sports are so much more important than actual education at colleges.

Re:Great! (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year ago | (#42796635)

Coaches have a public facing role, work very odd schedules, work weekends, and manage staff consisting of multiple disciplines (trainers, physicians, subcoaches, etc).

They are certainly well compensated, but when you get beyond 'lol it's just a sport' and look at the actual responsibilities placed on a college football coach, it's not as crazy as it first appears.

Re:Great! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796561)

$240K is nothing. Checkout University of Texas coaches salaries.

Mack Brown's $5,266,667
Richard D Barnes's $2,400,000
Gail Ann Goestenkors's $1,080,000 (She is no longer with University of Texas)

Texas government salaries are here: http://www.texastribune.org/library/data/government-employee-salaries/

Re:Great! (1)

RevDisk (740008) | about a year ago | (#42796597)

Supply and demand.

Apparently the school thinks having a good sports program is economically worthwhile. Considering that the price of college keeps WELL ahead of inflation, it's just more "free" money from the federally backed loans that students take out. Where did you think all the cash was going?

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796473)

How soon can I browse the salary history of CEO's, Congressmen [about.com] , the chairmen of the FED, [answers.com] ...

As far as CEO salaries are concerned, the shareholder proxy statement will tell you their total compensation. Many times just Googling it will tell you: CEO Apple: Time Cook [wsj.com]

But the sucky part for us is that, while CEOs can get away with hundreds of a percent in compensation increases because of market forces, we peons are stuck with what is deemed "reasonable" by the HR and hiring manager. Example, back in the 90s, my contract was ending and the body shop I dealt with (doesn't matter who - they all do it) wanted to know what I wanted for a rate. I looked online and saw that a rate of $55/hr for a W2 with my experience and skills - I was at $47/hr as a W2 with the previous contract. The recruiter said, "Gee! That's a big increase!" even though THEY would be billing out at market rates.

Companies have a problem paying market rates for their employees when they go up but have no problem cutting when things get bad. We peons only take the downside risk and get none of the upside - unlike that CEOs and Congressmen - they can go and become highly paid lobbyists if they lose their election.

Re:Great! (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#42796529)

CEOs don't get big pay because of "market forces."

They get big pay because their buddies sit on their board. These CEOs also sit on THEIR buddies boards. They vote each other big packages. If YOU want a big pay package are you going to vote down a big pay package for one of your buddies?

It's their information if you gave it to them (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796261)

I'm sure the vast majority of those employees whose info was sent had signed something on their first day of employment that gave the company the right to do this. Until the courts strike that sort of thing down, you got no recourse.

Re:It's their information if you gave it to them (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42796307)

I'm sure the vast majority of those employees whose info was sent had signed something on their first day of employment that gave the company the right to do this.

Until the courts strike that sort of thing down, you got no recourse.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duress [wikipedia.org]

Re:It's their information if you gave it to them (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42796435)

Not relevant. Signing it is a voluntary condition of employment, same as an NDA or similar. Unless the hiring manager holds a knife to you and tells you to take the job, it's not duress.

Re:It's their information if you gave it to them (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42796659)

It should be if a considerable number of jobs require it.

Having no food or shelter is not much different than a knife to the neck.

Re:It's their information if you gave it to them (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about a year ago | (#42796445)

It wouldn't work. Signing an agreement as a condition of employment is not considered an unlawful pressure.

Re:It's their information if you gave it to them (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#42796545)

Legally, no. But as a matter of public policy, it sometimes is considered a form of duress, and that's one of the main arguments cited in favor of laws limiting what an employment contract can require. For example, California public policy refuses to recognize most noncompete clauses. And in the other political direction, "right to work states" like Texas, as a matter of their public policy, prohibit employee contracts from requiring employees to join a union. So nobody seems to really believe that anything is okay as long as it's negotiated in an employment contract.

Re:It's their information if you gave it to them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796485)

Good point. If any employee had a gun to his head when he signed his employment contract, he should be able to sue, claiming duress. Thanks for pointing that out!

Data Protection Laws Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796263)

How is this different than a hacker obtaining information without your consent and offering it for sale?

Inaccuracy is a big problem (5, Interesting)

Atrox Canis (1266568) | about a year ago | (#42796267)

After spending over a year on a mission to get my credit report "fixed", I have a number of anecdotal stories regarding the inherent inaccuracy of the reporting that goes into these databases. My credit reports were not that bad but after a review of the report from the top three agencies, I discovered dozens of factually inaccurate items ranging from wrong addresses to poorly formatted history items. My reports contained input from companies I had never done business with and companies that no longer existed. The problem with this is that if they can't be trusted to confirm the proper spelling of your name, how can they be the "authoritative" source for detailed information regarding your trustworthiness.

Re:Inaccuracy is a big problem (4, Insightful)

godrik (1287354) | about a year ago | (#42796347)

My wife is fixing her credit right now. And she has the same problem. She is even responsible for debt she did not make on the basis that she can not prove that she did not make that debt. Most of the entry are indeed wrongly labeled which is quite scary frankly. That credit report business is complete BS in here. They hold a list of things that you did secret. You can access it but with a ridiculously high fee. And you can not contest anything important.

Re:Inaccuracy is a big problem (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42796403)

How is that possible?
Can't she sue them and force them to prove she created that debt?

Re:Inaccuracy is a big problem (4, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year ago | (#42796621)

What would be more interesting is you can prove the debts are not her own and pursue a successful libel case against them. A few of those with some considerable damage award is about the only thing that will drive these 'agencies' to fix their quality issues.

Re:Inaccuracy is a big problem (1)

godrik (1287354) | about a year ago | (#42796669)

Apparently, passed some times, the burden of the proof is hers. And since now you can get full of debt just by waving some numbers on a computer, it became impossible to prove the debt does not come from you.

The debt are small but numerous (3 or 4 times $1000). I am sure a lawyer can fix that. But they cost just more than the debt. So it is actually easier to pay.

To play devil's advocate... (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#42796273)

Salary information does pertain rather directly to ability to pay off debt.

Re:To play devil's advocate... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796329)

Great but shouldn't it be MY decision on who gets to see what my salary is. It used to be you didn't talk about what people made. Now they freely give that out to a thrid party?

Re:To play devil's advocate... (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42796479)

Having worked with my company's HR dept recently to fix a glitch with printing out payroll info, they are extremely paranoid about preventing other employees from seeing anyone's salary. However, the paranoia seems to be limited to preventing employees from seeing what each other makes rather than preventing any third party from accessing it.

Re:To play devil's advocate... (1)

sycodon (149926) | about a year ago | (#42796367)

Unless you are paying Child Support or have other court ordered outlays that don't show on the credit report.

Re:To play devil's advocate... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42796379)

Which should be my decision to disclose or not.

If you want to extend me credit then ask for that information and the documentation to prove it.

So what? (4, Insightful)

bradley13 (1118935) | about a year ago | (#42796387)

If you are a bank considering loaning me money, then I can choose to share my salary information with you. There is no reason at all for this information to be made available without the individual's permission!

Re:So what? (2)

Necroman (61604) | about a year ago | (#42796687)

Banks must have your permission to run your credit report. If a bank or any organization runs your credit without your permission they can get in pretty big trouble.

Re:To play devil's advocate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796547)

Salary information does pertain rather directly to ability to pay off debt.

Which is why it's reasonable to be expected to disclose this information when applying for credit. It's also reasonable to expect that such disclosures remain confidential and that both fraudulent disclosures and breaches of confidentiality may be legally actionable.

Re:To play devil's advocate... (1)

asylumx (881307) | about a year ago | (#42796675)

Does it? What if I come from a family who has money? What if I have a second job which isn't reported in this database?

This is a great example of a law (1)

ravenswood1000 (543817) | about a year ago | (#42796281)

that needs to be made but probably never will.

Re:This is a great example of a law (3, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#42796443)

The rule of thumb is, how does the proposed law affect a corporate entity that has its hand in the lobbying game.

If it has no affect, it will be ignored and never brought up. It's a waste of time.
If it is detrimental, it will be openly struck down.
If it means money in the pockets of corporate partners, it will sail right through.

This works WAY more often than not. It gets more interesting when more than one special interest in involved. Then there is a fight. The big guy usually wins (look at the oil lobby).

dental insurance ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796285)

As someone in Europe who doesn't have such a thing can someone explain the need for dental insurance?

If I go to the dentist I pay with cash, debit card, or credit card. It's never been nearly expensive enough to justify buying insurance for.

Re:dental insurance ? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year ago | (#42796433)

It's stupidly expensive in the US.

Though dental insurance still isn't worthwhile, might be a good indicator of a person worth trying to sell useless shit to though (unless the insurance came with the job and they had no option).

Re:dental insurance ? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42796495)

Mine is stupidly cheap.

It costs about $10 a year more than the two cleanings a year would cost me. So far I am way ahead, since it paid for a large part of my wisdom teeth extractions just a few years ago. Just the discount for having insurance was enough to put me way ahead.

Re:dental insurance ? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42796521)

What I pay for dental insurance comes out to a little over $200/yr and it covers almost everything including regular check-ups. Over the last few years, it has been pretty break-even between regular checkups and a two chipped teeth. Over decades, I'll probably spend more on insurance than if I paid in cash but it's nice to have a regular, predictable pre-tax expense and have one less emergency expense to worry about.

Re:dental insurance ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796563)

As someone in Europe who doesn't have such a thing can someone explain the need for dental insurance?

If I go to the dentist I pay with cash, debit card, or credit card. It's never been nearly expensive enough to justify buying insurance for.

In the US, dentists do more than rinse your mouth with vodka and tell you to spit. You get what you pay for.

Re:dental insurance ? (2)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42796603)

Insurance makes it expensive. Your insurance is willing to pay up to $500/yr for xrays? Take a wild ass guess at the future price of xrays in a privatize the profits socialize the losses system...

Its the same thing with govt "assistance" for childcare, or "assistance" for tuition, or "assistance" for health care. Another good example is K12 education, where public takes $10K per student but private takes $2K per student to do about the same thing.

If no one had dental insurance, I could probably get a simple cavity filled for $99.95 cash looking at the materials, tools, and education level. But they know they can get $750, so they do. That means uninsured people cannot get any treatment at all unless they're incredibly rich, and insurance ends up being very expensive.

If we ever get "oil change insurance" I guarantee within a year the $20 quickie lube places would be charging at least $200 if not $499.

hipaa violation? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42796287)

I think that they should not be giving out health info like that.

Re:hipaa violation? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#42796385)

As I understand HIPPA (and I am not a doctor or a lawyer but someone that had to worry about this for a specific project at one time), it covers your health care professional and means nothing to your employer or other agency.

Again... it's corporate anarchy. They have this information and they are going to leverage it. They're WAY bigger than individuals or families, so screw you.

Re:hipaa violation? (4, Informative)

punker (320575) | about a year ago | (#42796617)

Not True. I worked a contract for a health department, and HIPAA violations cover employers, providers, and insurers/agents. However, the key thing is if it would be considered 'protected health information' (PHI). There is alot of data that is not PHI that can legally be shared. PHI really centers on personally identifiable health information. Insurance status generally falls outside of that.

Re:hipaa violation? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42796553)

I don't think healthcare provider is included in PHI, but HIPAA is so broad they could shoehorn it in if they wanted to. Same with whether you have insurance.

Scaremongering ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796303)

Not convinced this is true. What possible benefit is it to an employer to provide this information to a credit reference agency. For free ? Why would HR (generally the most useless bunch of s in any company take the time to do it.

Re:Scaremongering ? (2)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about a year ago | (#42796337)

Because those same HR groups use the services from Equifax and friends to perform background checks on employees, and new hires.

Re:Scaremongering ? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42796583)

It follows the bit torrent model. Providing it may not help you directly, but if everyone does it then when you want to access information that someone else uploaded, it's available. Credit checks are nothing new for HR considering candidates for hire.

Re:Scaremongering ? (1)

hsmith (818216) | about a year ago | (#42796595)

Yeah, I am not buying it either. HR departments have no incentive to cough up the info. It takes time (aka money) to do - HR staff is already overworked, so who in the hell is going to do it for free?

Plus, why would they? It gives them nothing in return and opens them up to possible liability.

I don't buy it.

Privacy and Abuse (3, Insightful)

under_score (65824) | about a year ago | (#42796317)

In our culture, we are afraid of abuses.... legitimately! Having this information for sale can easily be used for such obvious purposes as rejecting a job candidate because their past salary is "too high". Stronger privacy protection is generally considered the antidote to such potential abuses. However, more and more regulation leads to greater and greater bureaucracy and therefore the cost of government increases.

Another solution is a longer-term solution and that is to address the underlying cultural assumptions and shift the world to a more positive outlook based on the idea of the inherent nobility of humans. Our bureaucracy has grown as we have moved away from a perspective on the noble human to the animal human with greed motivating our every move. In fact, this is a cultural choice, not a foregone conclusion.

At some point, I hope that we (culturally) will start responding to these sorts of crisis with a long-term view to improving humanity rather than reacting to the down-side.

Re:Privacy and Abuse (2)

marcgvky (949079) | about a year ago | (#42796525)

I absolutely disagree, in this particular situation. Normally, I am a libertarian of the finest sort. But, aggregation of your personal information without your initial and conscious consent will always be used for negative purposes; let's face it, there are a lot of people out there with a poor moral compass. In this particular situation, you only have one company to hold accountable; Equifax. They could structure the regulation just like your Credit Report. Done.

Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796319)

I thought this data was already available to be honest, so it's not much of a loss of privacy to me.

Horribly Unfair (5, Interesting)

realsilly (186931) | about a year ago | (#42796333)

Just this week, in the paper, I read that one senator is proposing a bill to allow employees to freely and openly discuss their pay. But here we read that this information is simply handed over to credit agencies. These credit agencies can then basically sell your information to Credit Card companies, Banks and more.

So it really begs the question, why am I not allowed to openly discuss my salary information but HR can hand it out to a Credit agency where from there it can be sold to half the corporations in America?

Our government really does not care about it's citizens any longer, only which corporations donate the most to their campaigns. /sigh

Re:Horribly Unfair (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#42796427)

Because corporations are people and all people are equal. It's just that some people (corporations) are more equal than other people (actual human beings).

Re:Horribly Unfair (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about a year ago | (#42796455)

Uhm, you can openly discuss your salary with anyone you want.

Re:Horribly Unfair (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796523)

You can of course share your salary, at least in Texas. My business law prof (a lawyer) verified this one. Just because your contract says otherwise doesn't really matter. Contracts can say whatever they want - it doesn't mean all clauses can be enforced in court.

Re:Horribly Unfair (2)

Quince alPillan (677281) | about a year ago | (#42796589)

Not exactly. Some workplaces mandate that you're not allowed to discuss your salary on penalty of being fired. Typically because some people at the same level are being paid vastly different sums and if they were told what they were being paid, they'd reasonably be upset.

Re:Horribly Unfair (2)

LordNimon (85072) | about a year ago | (#42796493)

I read that one senator is proposing a bill to allow employees to freely and openly discuss their pay.

Am I missing something? Why would this be illegal in the first place? I don't tell people my salary because I think it's inappropriate to discuss such things, not because I think I'm not allowed to.

Re:Horribly Unfair (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42796537)

A lot of employers forbid it, or try to.

I believe the proposed law would make that illegal.

In some situations discussing salary is fine, if you are getting a friend a job for instance or if you want to compare what your employer is paying for a job vs a friends employer.

Discouraging the discussion of salaries is just another method of keeping wages down.

Re:Horribly Unfair (1)

Rougement (975188) | about a year ago | (#42796541)

It's not illegal. Still, a scumbag former manager threatened me with dismissal if I spoke to anyone about salary.

Re:Horribly Unfair (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#42796559)

It's not illegal, but some companies prohibit disclosing it in their employment contracts, sort of a form of NDA. I believe the proposed law would nullify those clauses in employment contracts.

Re:Horribly Unfair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796615)

"...senator is proposing a bill to allow employees to freely and openly discuss their pay"

If any one is interested in reading about the bill that allows you to freely and openly discuss your pay you can find it here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/first_amendment

Privacy in the USA, yeah! (1)

bradley13 (1118935) | about a year ago | (#42796361)

Just like the credit reporting agencies, gathering all sorts of financial information without your permission.

One More Tool to Fight the Rise in Workers' Pay (5, Insightful)

Durrik (80651) | about a year ago | (#42796369)

I'm not being conspiracy nut in this. This is just one more tool that HR departments can use to keep pay low for people applying for work at a company. They always ask for what your current salary is. Before an applicant could lie and tell the HR department a higher number and get offered that higher number. Now they can just check this database and see what the number actually is.

When I job switched in the past I've never been offered a number higher than what I currently made when I was truthful about my salary, and I screwed myself over. There was a time when I worked for a start-up and my salary was frozen for four years. When that job died I told my new employer what I was making and got offered a bit less since it was a rough job market. The raises I got at that job were less than inflation. The last time I switched I took my salary at the start of the previous job, ran it through the inflation calculator, added 10% and told that number to the new company. That was the number that I was offered, and they gave me some song and dance about it was a privilege about working in the industry when I tried to see if I could get it higher. So I got a 17% raise over my previous company.

Now with this database that tactic is no longer viable. And if you don't tell them the current number you're making and then check it out, they can mark you as dishonest. Kind of hypocritical if you ask me.

Re:One More Tool to Fight the Rise in Workers' Pay (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796465)

The problem isn't that you were honest. The problem is that you actually took the job at a salary you claim was too low. Here's hoping you get fired for misrepresenting yourself during salary negotiations.

Re:One More Tool to Fight the Rise in Workers' Pay (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42796627)

Don't answer that question. Most companies are not going to pay to look up your old salary.

Don't switch jobs for less than X% increase. You decide X. I had an employer once tell me 10% was too much even though they wanted me to shoulder considerable moving expenses. I let them know that I was then not interested in working in such a place.

If you need the work bad you can take it, but when job switching you can be considerably more picky.

Another piece of the New World Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796389)

Here we are again, big business, banks, selling out citizens for profit.

Lemmings (0)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#42796391)

As an employer, I have to say that anybody stupid enough to work for a company that asks for credit information deserves what they get. The same goes for drug testing. If you're willing to sell your credit history and your personal health information for a job, then you're part of the problem.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796409)

My salary is public record anyway.

Write your Congressman and Senator NOW!! (2)

marcgvky (949079) | about a year ago | (#42796437)

I just wrote my congressman and senator.... feel free to copy and paste. This is so sick. Wait until the health information exchanges get installed, people will know your health history, social history..... I love the tech age, but this is one aspect of it that I can do without. -M Dear Mr./Mrs. Congressman/Senator: I am writing to request urgent regulation of the following unregulated data collection and resale activity; at minimum grant US citizens the ability to opt-out.... A subsidiary of Equifax named "The Work Number" is gathering and reselling personal salary data.... right down to the paystub. This data can be purchased by just about anyone including debt collectors. This data also includes Uneployment Insurance information, which might dissuade an employer from offering employment to an otherwise qualified individual. Please see this link for information: http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/30/16762661-exclusive-your-employer-may-share-your-salary-and-equifax-might-sell-that-data [nbcnews.com] Please act on this soon. I don't feel that my salary information and paystub data should be resold, without my consent. This should be an opt-in program, but they have crept under the regulatory radar. All the best, [YOUR NAME HERE]

Re:Write your Congressman and Senator NOW!! (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#42796497)

Writing congresscritters does nothing. I do it about something every once in a while. The result is always a letter back that says, to an extent, "I'm right and you're wrong."

My congressman is essentially a representative of corporate and GOP interests. When I send him a comment I get the equivalent of being flipped the bird in email form. It doesn't hurt him... there is no way in hell I would ever vote for him.

Preemptive Strike (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42796441)

If employers are going to give away our salary information to be used against us, perhaps we should publish our salary info preemptively. I wonder how employers would feel about having their workforce know what everyone else is making.

Re:Preemptive Strike (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#42796609)

I say publish all their other private data. I'm thinking selling the customer list is a good response to them selling my salary history.

Funny (1)

ledow (319597) | about a year ago | (#42796481)

Because under EU Data Protection Law, such information passing would actually be illegal from the start anyway without obtaining my explicit consent.

Sometimes the Data Protection Act really screws up my job. But it does it because it makes me comply with things that *stop* others lives being screwed up.

Equifax have no need for that information, anonymised or not. Thus they should have no access to it.

Freeze Your Credit File (5, Informative)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#42796501)

When my identity was stolen (credit card opened in my name by someone with my name/address/SSN/DOB), I froze my credit and my wife's credit. This means that nobody can read our credit files or add to it without our permission. If we want to get a car loan, refinance my mortgage, or open a new credit card, we need to thaw out our credit files. (This costs us $5 per person per agency - of which there are 3 - but this fee varies by state.) If a potential employer wants to run a credit check on me, they'll need to ask for my permission before they can see my credit file.

Why have they not been sued? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#42796593)

Equifax also typically has the worst credit database. Most people have a lot of errors on their file. It blows my mind that anyone trusts a credit report from the amount of wrong or misfiled reports are on them.

Some countries make all tax returns public... (4, Interesting)

acidfast7 (551610) | about a year ago | (#42796629)

... why demand the secrecy? Why not adopt a Nordic-style openness that shows who pays what taxes and where the taxes actually go. I also appreciated my annual credit history/report that was automatically mailed to my address when I lived in Stockholm. Why do you guys have to make everything so complicated? There's no security through obscurity.
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